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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  July 28, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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this, i think the real problem with the republican base, their electoral population is shrinking down to their core base. that's really what's getting them in trouble. >> the quote is that when they get on tv, they go er, er. i mean, how can southerners not feel like they're being slammed by one of their own? >> absolutely. ed, the problem with the gop is not the accent of its leaders, it's their tired ideas. just look. we've got michelle bachmann from minnesota. sarah palin, she's from alaska. stupid doesn't have any boundaries, okay? so, yeah, there is a real problem. i think the problem is just the opposite. is that they have become too conservative. they have shifted to the right. and that's the real problem. because that's not where the country is. if you want to blame a southerner, blame karl rove, who his pandering to the base policies is what made the republicans that party right now. >> would you call on senator voinovich to take that comment back and give him a chance to
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recalibrate it? >> i bont use that term. i'm sure if given the opportunity he might choose his words differently. if we want to talk about stupid, the democrats running a lot of these seats, michigan has an unemployment rate over 15%. the state's unemployment rate continues to soar under democratic leadership -- >> does that have something to do with somebody's intelligence the comment was made republicans are stupid. i think it's interesting we let the republicans are stupid comment go with sarah palin and some of the republicans but it's okay not to make those comments about the democrats. let's be fair about this. >> put that at the doorstep of a guy who had a fake southern accent, george bush. >> george bush, we've got to bring up george bush. george bush was actually a elected -- >> 15% unemployment, bring up the guy who helped bring that to bear. >> i'm bringing up the governor from michigan who's running that state, continuing to raise taxes and make it more difficult for people to work. >> we'll pick it up at a later date. thanks for joining us tonight, guys. that's "the ed show."
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we'll be in portland at the baghdad theater. go to wegoted.com. we'll be back tomorrow night with another edition of "the ed show." "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now on msnbc. happy hour at the white house. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, miller time. okay, the party is on. this thursday at 6:00 we've got a beer party, or as they say in massachusetts, beer party, scheduled for the white house back lawn. sitting there at the picnic table will be the president of the united states, budweiser for him. professor henry louis gates of harvard, give the man a beck's. and sergeant james crowley of the cambridge, massachusetts, police, he prefers blue moon, an upstate microbrewery product. personally, i think this pseudoevent belongs up there
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with that stage-crafted trip to the woodshed that ronald reagan's ballyhoo boys put his budget director through for his loop s loose lips. some republicans want to add to this street theater with a highfalutin, catch this, congressional resolution filled with seven whereas clauses that calls upon the president to show contrition for saying the cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting the professor. well, republican congressman thaddeus mccotter of michigan wants the u.s. house of representatives to meet and vote on his apology resolution. we've got the congressman mccotter of michigan coming right here to talk about and it tell us what he hopes to achieve. plus, sarah palin has got a new bag. running around the country attacking the press, attacking, well, acting like dick nixon after he lost that california governor's race back in '62. that's when he said this to the press.
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>> as i leave you, i want you to know, just think how much you're going to be missing. you don't have nixon to kick around anymore. >> wow. nixon went on to campaign for republican candidates in 1966 before launching his own successful presidential campaign. the big question, can palin ape the nixon playbook for 2012? and the house of representatives votes unanimously last night to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of hawaiian statehood. that may not sound like big news except for the fact the resolution included a line affirming that barack obama was born in hawaii. in other words, the usa. now that every voting congressional republican is on record, they all voted for it, who voted, saying obama is one of us, an american, well, they finally stand up to the birthers, those right wing full mooners who still think the president's an illegal alien. plus, as the republicans one after another declare their opposition to putting sonia sotomayor on the supreme court,
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are they lining themselves up for the gallows with hispanic voters who will not forget this day? that's in "the politics fix." and, well, former senator larry craig. just like any other ex-senator is now, we're told, in the consulting business. he's going to consult in washington and in his native idaho on energy issues. who says the republicans can't live and let live? we'll tell you about his new job in the "hardball sideshow." mr. we begin with a call for a formal act of congress to tell president obama to apologize to the cambridge police. u.s. congressman thaddeus mccotter introduced the bill. this bill had to go to a legislative council to get drafted, and it's got seven whereas clauses in it. it's quite a formal document. it ends with a call upon the president to retract his initial public remarks and apologize to the cambridge police. why do you think it's necessary to go to all this even though we have this beer party set up for thursday night? >> well, one, i think you
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overestimate the time it took me in my garage to write it and to get it to the council to slap the title of house resolution on it. it took very little time. certainly a lot less time than this administration has spent on this issue over the past several days. i think it's very important that the principle remain in place. as the president announced himself, he had a friend involved who he was biased to. he didn't have a complete grasp of the facts, and nevertheless he prejudged a private citizen, officer crowley's actions, as being inappropriate. then he reaffirmed it two days later. i don't think the president should have that type of power to do that. i think it's unfair to the private citizen. >> what would you like to see the congress do? you have introduced the resolution and you have a couple co-sponsors. what steps do you want your fellow members of congress to follow having done so? >> i think the key thing is not -- >> what do you want congress to do? you've introduced a resolution into the congress -- >> i am aware of what i've done. >> it's gone to committee. it's been referred to committee. what steps do you want the congress now to take? >> well, i hope they would take it up.
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but the question is whether the president will take it upon himself to know that in prejudging him from a biased base with incomplete facts was wrong. it's not a precedent that should be set by the most powerful person in the world and have him admit he was hasty in his judgment and retract his statement and then move on from there, but if not -- >> you could have done that in a press release. >> i hope we learn from this principle. no, i think it's important -- >> you want -- i'm asking you seriously, congressman, do you want the congress to actually take this up in committee, mark it up, report it out, and vote on it on the floor? is that what you want? >> well, i would think what you're asking then is should the most powerful person in the world be protected by individuals like yourself who think his actions were absolutely appropriate and good precedent. or should the congress -- >> who said that? >> well, i'm waiting for that to see whether you agree with my prop soirgs not. >> if you ever watch this show you don't know what i think. >> if you ever watch this show you know what i think. if you don't watch it, you don't know what i think. let me ask you -- >> a separate equal branch of government -- yes. >> a committee hearing, have a markup, report out this resolution, and vote on it by the whole house?
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>> yes. as a separate equal branch of government, we have to be a check upon the overuse of the power of the president, and the president, the most powerful person in the world, should not have put officer crowley in this situation after admitting bias, a lack of facts, and prejudging this incident. i think that as the congressional check and balance on the executive branch, i think it's necessary. if the president doesn't do it himself. >> what meaning does an apology have if it's forced upon a president or he's told to do it? does it have real meaning? >> i think it's important that the principle remain and the precedent not be set. i think that's what's at stake here. now, what the president feels about it or not is up to him. the president has in the past in the daschle incident admitted when he made mistakes. i would say he should be able to make that type of admission now and retract the statement so it doesn't affect negatively on the right in any potential legal or professional proceeding sergeant crowley may face. >> let me ask you about the resolution. what is the precedent for congress asking the president to apologize for something? >> any sense of congress in a resolution can focus on what we
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want it to focus on as an expression of congress. obviously, it would be nonbinding. we can't force the president to do it. but it would give a sense that the congress itself believes the principle is important enough to protect and the president precedent shouldn't be set. >> let's look at what the president said last week and then let's look at what he said late friday. >> number one, any of us would be pretty angry. number two, that the cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. i want to make clear that in my choice of words, i think i unfortunately gave an impression that i was maligning the cambridge police department or sergeant crowley specifically, and i could have calibrated those words differently. >> well, it seems like the
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president has gotten to the point of sitting down with this police officer, this sergeant, the official with the man who feels himself a victim here, the professor from harvard, and they're all getting together thursday afternoon for this beer party or whatever it's going to be called. a happy hour. they have a picnic table laid out for this. this theater is not enough for you. you want more theater apparently. did you know that they were going to go to this extent before you offered your resolution? >> no. first of all, it's not about the theater or the picnic. it's about the principle, that the president acted upon a bias. he acted without complete knowledge of the facts, and he has consistently said he still believes the officer in a pre-judicial decision has acted improperly. that has not changed throughout the course of this. we don't know if it will change by thursday or not. that's the crux of the matter. not how in whatever styling one says something but the substance of the decision by the president that the officer had acted improperly. that is the crux of the matter. >> but in saying as the
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president did, both gentlemen probably overreacted, that's not enough? >> he didn't say both gentlemen had overreacted. what he said is he still believed the officer overreacted and now -- >> by making the arrest. >> yeah. that he still believes the officer overreacted which is a reaffirmation of his original statement. that he had acted stupidly. he also expanded this now, and i'm trying to be fair to professor gates, to say he now believes professor gates might have acted improperly, probably overreacted as well. the bottom line is this determination should be made at the local level by the appropriate authorities with due process and then the president can weigh in. the president can always weigh in ahead of time with a general discussion of any issue at large. but to place culpability on one party or the other i think is inappropriate. not a precedent that should be set. >> let's be fair. let's listen to what the president said friday, sir. >> i continue to believe based on what i have heard that there
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was an overreaction in pulling professor gates out of his home to the station. i also continue to believe based on what i heard that professor gates probably overreacted as well. my sense is you've got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved. >> so here's the president in reflection saying he thinks both gentlemen probably overreacted. he's saying they're both good people. he made a phone call to the sergeant. he made a phone call to professor gates, and you still want the united states house of representatives to go to committee, go to reporting a bill out, passing a resolution, demanding that he do this other thing. are you sticking to your guns on
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this, congressman? do you really want the congress to do all this? >> to defend the rights of a private citizen from a presidential overreach, absolutely. if you listen very carefully to what the president said, he continues to say officer crowley acted inappropriately. officer crowley continues to say he did not. he should be given his due process by the appropriate local authorities. while no one may be speaking up for him or for anyone else this may happen to, if this precedent allows to be set, i still believe it's for members of congress to assert there are checks and balances wind the system to protect private individuals. >> so you want a vote by the house? >> if the president doesn't voluntarily come forward, recognize his mistake. and again, chris, the president is a lawyer. he understands there are legal ramifications to this as well as professional ramifications to the individuals involved, and to further inject himself into this strikes me as exactly the opposite. what i'm trying to give him is honest advice, to admit a mistake, retract, see what happens at the local level with
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the appropriate authorities and due process. >> okay. have you got any word for the leadership about when they're going to take up your resolution if they are going to take it? what committee has got it? >> i'm not sure what committee it was referred to at the present time, but i don't expect it to be passed by the congress. i expect it to stand as a testament to the principle if this doesn't happen and the precedent stands. at the end of the day, the principle has to be put forward if it is to even -- if we can seen start to assert protecting it. >> should people write their congressmen and ask them to vote on this? >> i think people should make their own determination asking whether or not they thought this precedent should stand. or whether the principle should be -- >> okay. i'm sure you get a copy of this on your website. is that how people can get a look at it? >> yep. >> okay, great. thank you, u.s. congressman thaddeus mccotter of michigan. no one is sure what sarah palin might be. she might consider doing what richard nixon did in the '60s -- i think she's doing it -- when he campaigned around the country for republicans before his successful run for president in '68.
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by the way, nixon bashed the press on his way to doing so. is that what sarah palin's doing? could palin find success the same way? ♪ well i was shopping for a new car, ♪ ♪ which one's me - a cool convertible or an suv? ♪ ♪ too bad i didn't know my credit was whack ♪ ♪ 'cause now i'm driving off the lot in a used sub-compact. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free credit report dot com, baby. ♪ ♪ saw their ads on my tv ♪ thought about going but was too lazy ♪ ♪ now instead of looking fly and rollin' phat ♪ ♪ my legs are sticking to the vinyl ♪ ♪ and my posse's getting laughed at. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free- credit report dot com, baby. ♪
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coming up, the u.s. congress votes unanimously last night to say president obama was born in the usa. born in the usa. will that be enough to shut down the birthers? )d)d)d)d)d)d)d)d)dd
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i leave you gentlemen now, and you will now write it, you will interpret it, that's your right. but as i leave you, i want you to know, just think how much you're going to be missing. you don't have nixon to kick around anymore. because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference. >> not really. welcome back to "hardball." this was richard nixon the morning after he lost the california governor's race back in 1962. he lost to the pat brown who later lost to ronald reagan.
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as we all know, that was not richard nixon's last press conference. in fact, ten years later -- actually -- was it ten years later? six years later he was elected president in a landslide. could sarah palin use the playbook to chart her own political comeback. pat buchanan and tom defrank covers politics for "the new york daily news." i got this idea having watched it, and pat, you and i have talked a lot about the nixon comeback from the cryogenic state he was in. he basically went out, exit snarling, he left attacking the press, and yet within a couple months he was back. he sat out the '64 year. he red shirts himself. didn't think that was his year. he came back in '66 and he said to you, first '66. >> yes. i joined up in '65 actually. what he told me, he said, listen, pat, if i had to be a lawyer the rest of my life, i'd be mentally dead in two years
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and physically dead in four, and he and i talked for hours and hours every day. incidentally, the '68 win was no landslide. it was humphrey. we won by 500,000 votes. it was a good electoral victory. we went out -- nixon went out and what we did was we had a five-week campaign. he got a plane. he had to pay for it himself or raise money for it. we hit 80 congressional districts, 35 states. nixon predicted all year long we're going to win 40 house seats and people were laughing at him and mocking him. at one point he had doubt about it when johnson was out in manila because i ran into his room out in oregon. johnson is coming back, he's going to campaign all over the country, and it really shook him up and he was telling me, we might just win 12. but sure enough, 47 house seats that night. we were in a hotel, and he was calling all these guys. they were calling him. >> johnson's biggest mistake was he accused him of being a chronic campaigner. >> johnson went into a press conference, was asked about nixon's manila questions that i had helped draft for nixon.
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we got them in "the new york times" and johnson gets up and for five minutes, this chronic campaigner, goes on and on and on, and nixon got television time and he went head to head with the president. the night before the election or just before it he took a half hour of time from the national committee, paid for, and he got up there and gave this really responsible response, and he vaulted himself into the number one candidate for the nomination. >> she's no idiot. this woman i think the governor -- ex-governor of alaska is a smart politician. i don't know how deep she is on the issues, but she seems to understand the crowd. out there. tom defrank, can she exploit it? can she do with nixon did, play against the press, attack the media, attack hollywood, attack government and come back as sofrts the angry, obviously very attractive candidate, glittery, exciting, but negative? >> she will do that, chris. she's a walking cultural war as somebody else observed over the weekend. i think she'll do all of that -- >> will she take the country back block by block? >> i don't think she will, but she's going to obviously after she cashes in and makes zillions
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of dollars on the speaking circuit, she's going to be campaigning for republican members of congress and republican senatorial e toeoria and she will build up a lot of chips. i have to say this, and i spent 20 minutes privately with her on the campaign trail. it was all off the record -- >> i saw your column. >> the bottom line -- >> what's off the record mean if you can write a whole column about it? >> i couldn't say anything -- couldn't say what she said. >> you caught the tenor of her remarks. >> my sense of it was except for energy policy, there's a lot she doesn't know. she reminds me of one of these politicians who don't know what they don't know. that's the test for her. yes, she catches the crowd. yes, she gets it, she connects with people, but -- >> when does it tag her that she's not -- first of all, we can't put it past reasonability that she will hire a couple people. she will be getting some tutorials. she will catch up with some of the issues. she's got plenty of time now to do it, tom. >> she does.
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but the bottom line is does she understand what she doesn't understand. >> yeah, i understand. >> here -- >> is she curious enough to learn? >> i don't know if she's intellectually curious enough. >> the difference this is. as of 1966, everybody in the republican party -- the republican party loved nixon. said he can't win. everybody knew he was qualified, he was up to the job, he'd been on the national scene since 1946. nailed it in '48. let me dissent on one issue. >> he's still guilty and there's latest evidence that he's definitely guilty, which i love, by the way. >> here is the difference. we didn't attack the press. >> you won't have nixon to kick around. >> that was 1962. >> the famous salvo. >> let me say this. people forget nixon got a good press in '66, a great press during the primaries in '68 up to oregon, and in the general election we were hammered a lot. we didn't go after the national press and the networks until november of '69 when we were being pounded and people didn't know what to do. >> based upon that experience, can she ride the wave of anti-media anger? >> there's a new world --
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>> like agnew did. >> agnew went after the media again in 1969 after they went after nixon. when he said i want the country behind him. they piled on. let me say this. there's a new world we're in, and the theme is when you go after hollywood and you go after the media, they are our most powerful, as a conservative, powerful adversaries. they're our opponents as much as nancy pelosi is. nobody knows who harry reid is. they know the network out there. >> let's take a look at sarah palin as she takes on the press. >> and, first, some straight talk for some, just some, in the media. you represent what could and should be a respected, honest profession that could and should be a cornerstone of our democracy. democracy depends on you, and that is why, that's why our troops are willing to die for you. so how about in honor of the american soldier, you quit
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making things up. >> do you think that's practiced, that style of hers, tom? it's hard to say whether it's practiced or natural. but that thing about going after new york media, washington government, and l.a. hollywood, is brilliant. it's a geographic attack of the left coast, the east coast, and gives her the middle. >> well, i just -- >> does it work? >> i don't think it's going to work. time will tell. the bottom line is time will tell whether it works. i just think she's trying the nixon playbook but i don't think she's richard nixon. nixon was a member of congress. he was a senator. he was a vice president. she was governor for 2 1/2 years and she walked away for the last 18 months. >> has anybody gotten far in national politics without some love of reading, of knowledge? i think stevenson was way overestimated iq-wise, i think kennedy was underestimated. i think reagan was way underestimated. but all of them read books, they read newspapers, they read magazines, they were thoughtful people that went to bed at night with books in their hands.
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they were thinking all the time. can you get ahead with just pure style and pizzaz in politics. >> george w. bush. >> you said it, buddy. >> no, i think when he got this there he said -- i read three shakespeares this summer. >> i said this was for shop dressing. all right. you're right. you have to have some substance or not? >> he did do some reading. i think he was reading biographies certainly in the white house. he and rove had a contest. how many hundreds of books they had to read -- >> you have to be somewhat substantive in this business. >> i think you have to. i think she has to show an intellectual curiosity that i don't think she's shown at the moment. >> she's got time to do that. >> the last people that brought themselves up in our business, i've watched bobby kennedy, nelson rockefeller, you get people around you who are smart -- i did it in school. start hanging around with smart people, it's amazing what it does for you. >> if sarah palin had been vice president for four years -- i think you -- she's obviously extremely bright, intelligent, tough, can make decisions. she doesn't have the information base.
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as tom says. frankly, it's a couple of years -- i mean, a lot of folks come to congress like that. >> thank you, pat buchanan. like you do, pat. i see you studying every afternoon. tom defrank. sir. you beat "time" to the big story about dick cheney. sarah palin's farewell address has been good fodder for the late night comics. we'll have that when we come back. we have the best jokes from letterman, stewart, colbert, in the "sideshow," all about palin. - hi. - crowd: hi! i hate my phone. what do i do? ( shouting ) this is crazy. you. let's run a free upgrade check. see if you're due for a new smartphone. don't i need to go to my carrier's store for that? no, you don't have to. we sell phones and plans on all the major networks. ok. well, is time travel possible? yes, i am from the future. announcer: phones, plans, and advice from thousands of people eager to help.
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welcome back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." talk about a symbiotic relationship. sarah palin was more or less brought to life by "saturday night live's" tina fey. we know that. she was slain by katie couric. she rose to the highest form of performance art, national victim, by david letterman. now, on her way out of the governor's door and headfirst
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into the road show, she won homages last night from the folks who made her. the media on the east coast. all this was last night. we start with letterman reacting, first of all, to the governor's farewell. >> it was a moving day for sarah palin. she went out onto her porch and waved good-bye to russia. sarah palin tack a swipe at certain people in the media. gosh, i wonder who she had in mind. >> one other thing for the media, our new governor has a very nice family, too, so leave his kids alone. >> he has a family, does he? i want to know, orthodontic records, yearbook pictures, schoolyard rumors. i will break them. >> i was so moved by her farewell speech that i want to say good-bye to her in the same way i imagine she writes her own speeches.
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cherished freedoms. is that. some may say. and to those some. gas pipelines. to those brave soldiers. >> well, as he said, colbert, stringing together buzz phrases may be enough for the political circuit, but she better not try it before the paying audiences, trade associations that fork over big money for speeches from people like her. want a big speech. they want their starring attractions to say something. that's just a thought. a bit of advice for her. next up, guess who has got a big gig, a new one. larry craig, the newly retired senator from idaho famous for his arrest in that 2007 minneapolis men's room incident, has just opened a new energy consulting firm with offices in idaho and washington. what a great country this is, by the way. turns out this is a freer, more forgiving, more understanding country than people who vote like larry craig want it to be.
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and finally, the politico's roger simon, a good friend of this show, has come up with a fun list of things that the white house staff, the white house staff, is not allowed to say to the president. here is a few of them. first up, any reference to the gates saga saying i don't know all the facts, but the police acting stupidly is like saying i don't know if there's any weapons of mass destruction, but let's invade iraq anyway. another unspeakable, you want a cigarette? another thing you can't say to the president if you work for him. i think it has to do with his press conferences. one reason we can't put the questions on the teleprompter is because we aren't supposed to know the questions in advance. don't we all agree these press conferences he's been holding are downright deadly? like midnight in a cemetery. i say bring back the hand waving. i pine for the sound of somebody yelling out, mr. president. now that's a press conference. time for tonight's "big number."
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the judiciary committee in this senate easily approved judge sotomayor for the supreme court by a vote of 13-6. but here is the more telling number. how many republicans on that committee voted for sotomayor? one. out of seven. uno. eins. uns. the lone yes vote came from senator lindsay graham of south carolina. just one republican votes for the country's first hispanic supreme court nominee. tonight's "big number." we're going to talk about that later in "the politics fix." what does that mean for republicans running for re-election in states that have lots of hispanic voters? will they remember? what do you think? up next, congress votes unanimously for a bill celebrating hawaiian statehood. a bill that also says barack obama was born in the usa. so now, will that quiet the house republicans? by putting them on record saying, boep is in fact one of us, he is an american? what will it say to the right wing birthers who still don't believe the president was born here? will they stick up for him now? [ female announcer ] new swiffer wet jet cleans so deep, you'll love it.
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here's what's happening. there are reports tonight house democrats have given up on getting a vote on health care reform before the august recess. democratic leaders have reportedly told the gop there will be no vote before the congressional recess begins on friday. the man accused of shooting and killing abortion provider george tiller entered a not guilty plea in kansas today. 51-year-old scott raider insists the killing was justified to defend the lives of unborn children. police searched the home and office of michael jackson's doctor today. sources say dr. conrad murray told investigators he gave jackson a powerful sedative the night he died. the dow and s&p finished
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slightly slower on a consumer confidence report. the s&p was down 2.5, the nasdaq added more than 7 points. welcome back to "hardball." last night, as i said, the house passed a resolution honoring hawaii's 50th anniversary as a part of the united states, and the text of the resolution included this line. quote, whereas the 44th president of the united states barack obama was born in hawaii on august 4th, 1961, close quote. well, considering the nonsense that birthers and their allies on capitol hill have been spewing, you might have thought that there would be opposition to that line. well, guess what? didn't happen. the bill passed 378 members of congress to zero. what happened to the members of congress who had been fanning the flames to delegitimize the president?
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will they put to rest this insanity? new jersey democratic congressman rob andrews and arizona republican congressman jeff plait were part of the co-sponsorship of this. in fact, they were lead co-sponsors. i want you to watch something that's amazing. this is a "huffington post" blogger. a young guy named mike stark. he went around the hill and interviewed your colleagues. here's what they said on the issue of whether our president is in fact one of us. a fellow american. >> what do you believe personally? >> i'd like to see the documents. >> so you're kind of afraid of the lunatic fringe base? >> certainly being looked at. >> what do you personally believe? do you think there's a question here? >> i think there are questions. we'll have to see. >> you do believe there are questions. that's good enough. thanks very much. i'm on the hill asking republicans if they believe barack obama was born in the united states. it doesn't matter to you? you swore an oath to uphold the constitution. >> that's a question he needs to answer, not me. if he says he is -- >> you can tell me what you think. you can tell me what you think. do you think he was?
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>> he said he was so i believe he was. >> congressman andrews, you know, they used to say reporters -- when i had argument is with them, they always say when you get somebody into the grand jury, you get somebody testifying in court, when it's on the record they have a different view than when they're just talking. it sounds like when your republican colleagues were just talking, they were able to play the game of well maybe he's not really not one of us, not really an american. but when you force them to vote for history to talk to posterity, every one of them who voted, all of them, went out and said, yes, of course, he's an american. what's the difference? what's the distinction between on the record when it counts and bs'ing it with your whack job far right constituents? >> i hope it's accountability, chris. as you said, people had to actually cast a vote as to whether they buy any of this nonsense. look. i'm glad that my republican colleagues did the right thing and voted yes. i hope what they'll do is now stand up at these town meetings and tell people that fanning the flames of this hatred is just wrong.
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there are serious policy differences we should debate, but carrying on this kind of misconception is just wrong for the country. >> congressman plate, thank you for joining us. you're a republican from arizona. you voted -- you co-sponsored this measure honoring hawaii as our 50th state. here is the resolution. 1503. it would require the campaign committee -- well, this is something else. this is the other guys who are pushing this. they want to put a birth certificate out there. how do they reconcile that with voting to say this president clearly is one of us? >> i don't know. i suppose that other effort will go away pretty quietly now. i hope it does. i hope that this lays to rest any controversy that's out there. this shouldn't have been a controversy at all. >> what's in the water out there? >> well, i don't know. i think you saw it, some on the left, after the bush/gore race back in 2000. some who called bush the illegitimate president for quite a while after that. you're seeing it here, not exclusively, but mostly on the right.
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it's unfortunate. it just kind of cheapens the debate. >> hey, chris -- >> congressman andrews, your thoughts? >> i respect jeff very much. i think that's a ridiculous comparison. in the bush/gore fight there was a legitimate legal fight over whether ballots should have been counted or not. there is absolutely no doubt about barack obama's birth certificate. there's no dispute about this. which is why all you guys voted for it last night. >> no, i completely agree with that. >> just to get some more information -- >> some of us never questioned it. >> here are some people who have. here are the seven colleagues, republican members of congress, who sponsored that birther bill who voted also to say hawaii is a state and president obama is someone who was born in it. posey, blackburn, culberson, poe, burton, goodlatte, and neugebauer. what do you make of the fact that there's a conflict there, mr. edwards, between people who when they were forced to vote on the record said, yes, he's a
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citizen. then they play this game by sponsoring a resolution that says you have to show your birth certificate. by the way, the secretary of health in hawaii again yesterday said the birth certificate is on file. i don't know -- what more information people want, i don't know. go ahead. >> i think it's just absurd. people are fanning this misconception, and then when they have to call the shots and vote, they vote the right way. these guys need to knock this off. let's talk about jobs and health care and things that matter to the people of the country. >> mr. flake? >> i agree. it's time to lay it to rest and go on. some of us, like i said, never had that question at all. it's unfortunate that some did, but now i think it is laid to rest and we can address health care and the other issues. i'm glad that we passed this resolution. i hope we can go ahead. >> do you think the republican leadership, people like john boehner who are level-headed, and mitch mcconnell, who is level-headed i think, i'm sure they are, would be better off putting this aside and saying
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our party doesn't really stand for this deamericanization effort. >> right. and i think they have. there's no encouragement that's come from the republican leadership to fan these flames. >> well, there's no discouragement of the whack jobs either. >> well, i can only say -- >> they haven't exactly been excommunicated from the fold. i mean, they're showing up at meetings. mike castle had a meeting the other day, i've got to tell you, where this woman stood up -- did you see it? it was wild. and she -- >> she raided him. >> she was yelling and -- >> and to mike's credit, mike's credit, he just said there was really nothing to it, but this is going on, and i think people have to stand up, republicans and democrats, and say, look, stop lying about the president to these people who are doing this. let's have a legitimate disagreement over what he stands for. i'm for what he stands for, but stop lying about the president. i think both republicans and democrats need to say that to these people.
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>> i think lou dobbs should join py the way in that. he has yet to make a clear statement. he's said the president is one of us, but he continues to encourage this rush to try to check everybody's papers, including the president. i don't think the president should have to show his papers like he's -- like he just skipped across the border. give him a break. well, we don't have to, i guess. anyw anyway. thank you congressman robert andrews and thank you jeff flake. up next, senator lindsay graham is the only republican in the senate judiciary committee to vote for president obama's pick for the supreme court, sonia sotomayor. will republicans pay a political price with latino and latina voters? "the politics fix" coming up. we're getting back to more ethnic politics. ( conversation )
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we're back with "the politics fix" with the washingtonpost.com's chris cillizza. everybody reads him in "the post." and maria teresa kumar. thank you for joining us. a little tribal politics coming up here, lady and gentleman, and i mean it. this gates thing, we had the congressman on, he's obviously well-spoken, we can say that. this guy, mccotter from michigan. you know, cillizza, do you know what astounds me about this
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whole thing, the whole thing about is the president american or not. anybody who thinks the map is simple, that new york state's all liberal and pennsylvania is a little more conservative. the country is blotchy. every part of the country has some far full mooners in it, states you think are liberal like michigan have got people way over in certain corners of it. think of hubert humphreys' day. isn't it amazing. i want to talk to you about this crowley, gates, obama thing. is the president sitting down with these two guys and having their happy hour thursday night, does this end it okay for him or is he still going to pay a price for this politically? >> i think it ends it okay, chris. i think the price he paid is that we're still talking about it, you know, five or six days afterwards which basically means some of the health care messaging got off track. yes, i think he pays a political price for it -- >> there wasn't much good to report on that front. wasn't like it was blacked out, you know. >> amazingly enough though, they did exactly what they wanted with this press conference until
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the very end, and president obama didn't get to be president because he's undisciplined. it was a fascinating moment because they sent the message they wanted to send. because they sent the message they wanted to send. this is necessary, it's urgent, we need to do it now whether you agree or don't agree with that. in the end he answers this question and sets off six days. i think what they're hoping to do is let's bring this to an end, it's a beer among friends, that kind of idea, let's move on. as you point out, i'm not sure they want to be necessarily talking about health care at the moment but it's better than this, frankly. >> i think health care's doing okay, it's on the back burner. this reminds me, i don't think you were around based on my estimate of your age. this is something reagan's people did when he had a huge embarrassment back in 1981, when his budget director admitted to a reporter for the "atlantic monthly" that there's huge deficits coming. they had this moment called the trip to the woodshed. totally ridiculous but it worked. i guess maybe they're playing from that playbook now. create an event. >> they're creating an event. i think also what he has to -- i actually disagree a little bit
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with chris. i think what happened is for the very first time, obama was not in control of the news cycle. and it spiraled because of the way he answered at the very end. i think what we do have to be careful with is how he interacts with law enforcement. what we don't want -- what the democrats don't want the message to be sending to republicans is that, the obama administration and the democrats are unfriendly to law enforcement. i think people are really going to be looking at this very critically. >> you know there are very few accidents in politics. it was not an accident that joe biden was in philadelphia with eric holder the attorney general, announcing $1 billion in economic stimulus funds to the hiring and rehiring of police officers around the country this morning. >> yeah, i think democrats want to be in bed with the police. for obvious reasons, somebody said if you're in trouble are you going to call 911 and send for the harvard faculty club to come and help you? by the way, when you're in a difficult situation, even in difficult neighborhoods, you like to have cops around. let me ask you this politically. was this a big mistake by him? there was no planning of this.
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chris, you agree with marie, that this was a miscue? >> absolutely, 100%. unforced error. >> no drama obama became a dramatic obama in the way he didn't want to be. do you know people axelrod, anybody in the white house, got to the president afterwards and said, you're off the rails on this one, mr. president? do you know who got him back on the rails by saying, let's all be friends, this rodney king thing he's doing? >> i am sure some of his advisers did. they keep it pretty close. look, the president is a pretty astute politician. i think what you saw is he waited a few days, essentially said, not a big deal, i could have used different words. but by friday he knew he had to address it. friday he had to say, look, i regret saying what i did. he understands that if you walk away from this sort of thing, it will just grow and grow and grow. that you've got to pour water on at some point. you can't just ignore there's a fire. >> while you're on the fire issue, do you think the republicans want to put out this birthing issue themselves? are they going to get to the point or are they already there with this vote on hawaii saying he is, in fact -- every
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republican voted said last night, yeah, it's a citizen. they had a vote. they chickened out or got off this crazy thing they were playing to. do you think the republican leadership wants to kill this thing, this birther thing? >> chris, 100%. look, they want to talk. they think they have an opening on the economy. they think they have an opening on health care. they don't want to talk to an issue that plays to, i have no idea, 5% of the republican base? i really don't know. i'm guessing. it plays to a very narrow group of people who were never going to vote for barack obama anyway. >> also it gets to the question whether it's not documentation, it's pigmentation. >> exactly. goes back to race. unfortunately, he's fueled the fire with this gates and crowley issue. >> we're going to talk about something that truly could be tribal, that's latina for the supreme court, with very few republicans apparently lining up for her. we're going to come back with maria teresa kumar and chris cillizza. we're talking about the fact we're learning that very few republicans are going to vote next week for the supreme court nominee of the president's.
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progressive. call or click today. we're back with chris cillizza and maria teresa kumar. let me ask you about the "politics fix." pure politics. will republicans pay the price for burning down the line for sotomayor for supreme court? >> they will with the latina population. specifically the latina vote. they want to hear a republican party put reasons on the reasons why they may not vote for her. not just becse

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